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Seeing the Difference

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A drop of moisture fell between the Amazon’s shoulder blades, a tongue tracing its slow decent before a hot mouth closed around the base of the woman’s neck. Eve watched the woman beneath her exhale an unsteady breath, her fingernails digging into the uneven wood of the hut’s structure as Varia allowed herself to be pressed beneath the form of her former enemy. It had been a few moons of this, and yet Eve still could not understand why this was happening. This certainly wasn’t what she stayed here for, and yet they both fell into it all the same.

Her war crimes were pardoned by the Amazon Nation, but Eve had still felt an obligation to make things right between her and Varia. It was no doubt a futile task that would stretch on until the day that she died, and yet she needed to try all the same. Varia had told her that it wasn’t necessary; that she realized that as Queen she sometimes needed to put aside her personal feelings for a sound judgment, and that she intended to stand by it. Regardless, it wasn’t enough, and they both knew it. And so Eve decided to stay.

At first, all she did was tend to the wounded, finding that to be the only comfortable place for her given her checkered past with the tribe of warrior women. But after a fortnight Varia had bluntly told her that her talents were being wasted there, and requested that even should she choose not to fight with them, that she train anyone willing to learn. Eve had hesitated, remembering the last time she had tried to train one of their own, but Varia assured her that she wasn’t interested in condemning her for her past anymore. Instead, she wanted to put her combat skills to good use, if Eve allowed her to. And, well, after she had put it that way, it made it difficult to refuse.

After all, nothing good had ever come from Eve’s skills as a warrior, and should she have the opportunity to help others instead of hurting them with it, she’d be a fool not to take it. In the end, helping Varia’s tribe to become strong would be at least one way of making amends.

Eve began to train a handful of the tribe’s more advanced warriors, and Varia seemed to always make an appearance while she was doing so; assessing her lessons, or perhaps merely supervising her, because the trust was still not fully there. Eve could feel her eyes on her though, causing a chill to role down her spin while her veins ignited with a fierce heat, putting the former Champion into a hyper-sensitive state of awareness as she suddenly felt less predatory and more prey. She half expected each time that Varia would join them, as with the way she was watching them she clearly ached to expend some of her excess energy, but she never did.

At least, not when other people were around.

Instead, one day when Eve was down by the riverbank, enjoying the peace and quiet of a silent night and a calm current, Varia had asked her to spar. She claimed no one was up to par with her yet, and she was growing restless without a proper challenge. And so Eve, her entire reason for even being there in the first place revolving around making amends with the woman before her, accepted without much thought. She had believed that perhaps, in the end, it might even help things between them, as Eve had no doubt that there was still a little part of Varia that wanted to hit her. And maybe if she was able to then she would begin to be able to move past it; they both would.

But that wasn’t exactly what happened.

Maybe Varia had been right; that neither of them had truly faced a challenge when it came to physical combat unless they were sparring with one another, because the rush it gave Eve was beyond anything she had ever felt. She finally felt as though she were facing an equal, which wasn’t something she had ever expected to feel again after she had renounced her old name and her old ways.

It was a long fight, neither of them gaining the upper hand for long until the uneven terrain worked against Varia, and Eve got in a lucky shot that landed the Amazon on her back. A clean leg sweep however caused Eve to come tumbling down in succession, but as she was expecting the retaliation she was able to use the momentum to her benefit and land in such a way that it left Varia pinned beneath her. And she didn’t know what it was; perhaps it was the exertion they both had exhausted during the fight, the way she could hear the blood pumping in her ears, or even just the way Varia’s gently parted lips struggled for breath, but something caused her to do something entirely reckless and she closed the distance between them, forcefully kissing the other woman on the mouth.

Panic erupted in her chest then, realizing the moment that she had done it she had made a dire mistake, and yet when Varia violently flipped her onto her back not seconds after, because how dare she after everything she had done to her, the elbow to the face that Eve was expecting never came. Instead, Varia’s lips covered her own as a hand made its way up her sari, and suddenly Eve was getting fucked into submission on the side of the riverbank, in plain view of the Amazon camp to the north.

She didn’t know why. She didn’t ask, and Varia never said. In fact, when they were finished the Amazon didn’t say anything at all; she just gathered up her clothes and left, leaving Eve aching and breathless and wondering how on earth something like that had even transpired between them.

She had thought that it was perhaps just a grave error of judgment on both of their parts, an accident brought on by the fact that neither of them had laid with another for quite some time, but then it kept happening. Every time they would spar, one of them would soon turn it into something different, something more, until Varia eventually left her spent and alone without a word. It was entirely perplexing, and not at all healthy given their history, and yet Eve couldn’t find it within herself to stop it, rationalizing that perhaps this was some kind of stepping stone to forgiveness.

It wasn’t though. She knew it wasn’t. Whatever this was, whatever it was supposed to achieve, Eve doubted it was that. Forgiveness was pure, and this was anything but.

Eve hiked Varia’s skirt up around her hips, raking her nails against glistening thighs as she continued to kiss and nip at back of the other woman’s neck. They were both still sweating from their work out, but that had never been much of a deterrent for them; if anything, it only stirred them on, apparently finding something incredibly sexy in a good fight, if their extracurricular activities that proceeded them were any indication, anyway.

Varia groaned, her eyes falling shut as she grasped the hand that was kneading her breast, forcing it between her thighs and down her smallclothes. Eve’s breathing hitched in her throat as she felt the desire that awaited her, coating her fingers and Varia’s coarse curls as she began to gently stimulate her. Most days, this was rushed; heated and desperate and needy. But then sometimes they allowed the other to take their time, to map out every inch of the other woman’s body as they learned new ways to make each other’s toes curl. Tonight though, all Eve found herself focused on was the muscles that defined the Amazon’s form, finding that she wanted to kiss, wanted to lick every dip and curvature that accented the woman’s impeccable body.

And so she began to do just that.

After slipping her fingers from out of the front of Varia’s smallclothes, the Amazon exhaled a disapproving growl. Eve chuckled low in her throat, breathing against her skin, “Patience,” as she grasped her hips and began running her tongue over a predominant muscle in the other woman’s back. “I’ve been told it’s a virtue.” She nipped at her shoulder blade then, and Varia pursed her lips together and hung her head as she muffled a whimper.

“I don’t have any virtues,” she warned, spreading her stance wider as Eve began to sink to her haunches, her mouth marking slickened skin as she helped slide Varia’s skirt down over her thighs. The material pooled at the Queen’s feet, and as she practically kicked it across the floor, a slow smirk crossed Eve’s face.

“Oh, I very much doubt that…”

Varia looked as though she were about to retort to that, but when Eve’s mouth made a home against the woman’s inner thigh, fingers beginning to map the strength that her legs held, the only sound that was exhaled then was one of desperation and need as Varia bent over further, pressing her breasts against the wall of the hut. The woman was dripping down her thighs, and although Eve wanted to savor it, she knew Varia had a limit on her patience. And so, in taking mercy on her, the Messenger reached up and spread the woman’s folds, bringing her face to her center as she took Varia’s clit entirely in her mouth.

The Queen swore; loud, obscene, as her hips bucked and her hand hit the wall of the hut. When they had begun this little endeavor, their passion usually caused them to consummate wherever they had been sparring; usually outdoors, at least a good decent away from the camp. But the longer it went on, the less of a secret their little relationship became, and Eve had to assume that Varia was getting questioned about it, as suddenly she was directing them into their huts for some semblance of privacy. In the end, Eve doubted that Varia knew how to justify it to her sisters. Neither did she, for that matter. Nothing about this made even the slightest bit of sense, and yet they continued to do it all the same.

Varia was always quick to finish whenever she had her mouth on her, and tonight was no different. The Amazon reached behind her as she began to tremble, fingers fisting in Eve’s hair as she shouted and held on, trying to remain upright. She collapsed against the wall of the hut afterwards, breathing heavily as she tried to get her bearings.

It didn’t take long.

Eve found herself being forcefully pushed down against the straw-covered ground, the Queen straddling her waist as she pinned her hands above her head and kissed her. Eve groaned, feeling Varia take her bottom lip entirely into her mouth before she roughly bit it, pulled, and allowed it to pop back into place. Her back arched as Varia began to undo the bindings of her shirt, pulling it apart and separating it before allowing her lips to cover one of her achingly hard nipples. Eve closed her eyes, fingers tangling in the other woman’s hair, and briefly began to wonder if this is what madness looked like.

Perhaps that was why Varia felt the need to hide it from the outside world.

Not that people still didn’t know; it wasn’t as though the huts were soundproof, and more than enough people had witnessed them come in and out of them. Still, the Amazons regarded what went on in the Queen’s hut to be the Queen’s business, and it wasn’t appropriate to question her on it. Outside, where everyone could bear witness, they were free game; but in here… in here, they had the freedom to do whatever questionable things they desired, without the judgmental opinions of the rest of the tribe.

After all, while Eve may have been pardoned, she wasn’t entirely forgiven. She had slaughtered so many of their sisters, took so many of their family, that there were only a few in the tribe who were not personally affected by it. And Varia, she was the worst of them all, and yet her way of coping with her loss was so incredibly unorthodox that if it hadn’t happened so many times by now, Eve would have believed herself to be imagining it.

“Oh—oh my Gods,” Eve exclaimed as two fingers entered her, old habits overshadowing her new faith as she cried out to a horde of slaughtered Gods. Varia didn’t seem to notice though, the woman far too busy marking the skin of Eve’s neck as she used her hips to press deeper, harder, firmer. She curled her fingers inside of her and Eve’s vision flashed white, her hand slamming against the ground before fisting a pile of straw and arching her back.

Nails hit skin then, scratching deep patterns into the flesh of the Amazon’s back as Varia kissed her, muffling the progressively louder sounds that the woman beneath her was making. Eve was shaking, her legs clamping around one of Varia’s thighs as she shouted her name into the Queen’s mouth, her orgasm washing over her much quicker than she had expected.

It had been over a week for them though, so perhaps it was only natural. Usually they didn’t go this long, but Varia hadn’t suggested that they spar in quite a while. Eve wondered for a moment if the woman was finally listening to her sisters and coming to her senses, but then Varia requested an audience with her, and after a brief spar that by this point, seemed more routine than anything else, Varia had kissed her and it had all spun downhill from there.

So no, perhaps that wasn’t it at all.

Tangling her fingers in her own hair, Eve continued to lie on her back as she tried to catch her breath. When she opened her eyes however, she was confronted with the image of Varia staring at her, and the sight of it was so strange that it caused Eve to knit her brow and ask softly, “…What is it?” Usually, Varia was already off her at this point; which the other woman seemed to notice, as she wasted no time pushing herself up from the ground right after the question had been asked.

“Nothing. I’m going to go down to the river to take a bath,” Varia responded, carefully keeping her voice in a neutral tone as she begun to gather up her garments from off the floor.

Normally, Eve would just let her leave; but the longer this went on, the more uncertain she grew about whether or not they should continue. And it wasn’t for her own sake that she believed ceasing this kind of activity would be the better option – as thankfully her new religion wasn’t exactly stapled in chastity – but she had stayed here for a reason, and unless this madness was somehow making this better, then what was the point of it? What if, in the end, it was only making things worse for Varia? She certainly didn’t seem much more clear-headed because of this, after all.

“Varia,” Eve called out, the name almost sticking in her throat. The Amazon stopped dead her tracks, all of the muscles in her back and arms suddenly tensing as she turned around. Outside of a few words of parting, speaking to one another after sex was rather unorthodox, and Varia suddenly seemed a little wary and defensive about what was about to come from Eve’s mouth as she squared her shoulders and stared at her, waiting.

Eve swallowed. She doubted this would be taken well. “What… exactly are we doing here?” she asked carefully, keeping her tone as non-confrontational as possible. “Because I’m starting to fear that—that whatever this is supposed to be, that it could possibly be bad for you, and I wouldn’t want—”

Varia cut her off with a curt laugh. “Out of everything that’s happened between you and me, I doubt this is the straw that’s going to break the camel’s back,” she told her, voice harsh enough to sting Eve with the reminder. “So if I were you, I’d stop worrying.”

Eve shook her head, looking downwards as she delicately wrapped her fingers around her top that lay carelessly on the ground, bringing it towards her. “I know that, but I’m still concerned that—”

“That wasn’t a suggestion.”

Varia’s voice was hard, even; a warning for her to drop it. Still, Eve wasn’t meek enough to just surrender to the suggestion of submission, and so she snapped her eyes up and met Varia’s fierce gaze with one of her own. She may be a pacifist, but she was not a sheep. “Don’t brush this off like it doesn’t matter,” she responded, voice a little stronger this time. “You and I both know that the reason you’ve begun hiding me away in here is because it does, and you’re either ashamed or confused by it. Quite possibly both. Regardless, neither of those things are why I chose to stay, and if that’s all this is bringing to you—”

“Funny,” Varia deadpanned, cutting Eve off mid-sentence as she crossed her arms over her chest, “that you’re suddenly so concerned with my well-being. If you were really this worried about what this was doing to me, you think you would have questioned this long before now.”

Eve’s cheeks lightly colored with shame, and she looked down as she once again grasped her top in her hands, finally moving to put it back on. “…We all have our weaknesses.” It was the closest she could come to an admission of selfishness right then, as she had known long ago that there was something very wrong with what they were doing, and yet she refused to speak up until now. Better late than never she supposed, and yet that excuse still felt flat and dishonest.

“And what, Amazons are yours?” Varia shot back, and the way she said that made Eve pointedly decide to ignore the question, as it sounded like a dangerous invitation to talk about the past. About why she had invaded their lands years ago; an implication that perhaps she had more of a reason than wanting to sell them into slavery. But she never took her spoils in that way; she wasn’t a man. Even when she was Livia, even when she was a monster, there were lines she did not cross.

“I just want to know why,” Eve asked softly, keeping her tone low as she pulled her sari up over her shoulder and finally stood at full height. She didn’t want to come off as confrontational though, and so she kept her distance. She didn’t want to fight with her, as she doubted it would achieve anything.

“There is no ‘why’,” Varia purposely deflected. “There’s just what is. If you don’t want this, then you’re free to leave.”

Eve exhaled an exasperated breath, shaking her head. “I’m not saying that I don’t—”

“Then what are you saying?” Varia asked shortly, cutting her off once again. “Because I had assumed we had some sort of agreement, and yet here you are questioning it.”

“And what agreement might that be?” Eve asked, finally catching her gaze. She needed to know what exactly Varia thought this was; perhaps that way, she would finally be able to understand it.

Varia stared at her for a long while, as if she were wondering how exactly to word what would come next. Maybe she didn’t even know the answer herself, and was just trying to formulate one that would make the most sense. Finally though, she told her, “You’re here for forgiveness, and I’m allowing you to try. That’s all that this is. Whether it works or not is irrelevant.”

Eve furrowed her brow, looking at her like she couldn’t understand her thought process. “Irrelevant?” she questioned, taking a few imploring steps towards her. “Varia, if that’s all that this is, then whether or not it’s succeeding is the only thing that’s relevant.”

Not to mention that finding forgiveness in such a way was terribly superficial, and very likely to fail.

“To you, maybe.”

“Then what else is there?”

Varia looked exasperated, irritated. And yet still she did not deflect it; perhaps because she was starting to realize that the more she did, the longer this conversation would wear on. Clearly, that was not something she wished to happen. “Maybe… I’m trying to teach myself to see something different.” The words were said defensively, but there was still a slight hesitation there, almost as if Varia was unsure if her reasoning even made any sense.

But it did. Of course it did. While Varia may have condemned ‘Livia’ to death so that ‘Eve’ may live, they were still only words. When she looked at her, she no doubt still saw the woman who destroyed her life so many years ago, despite knowing full-well that Eve was not the same person any longer. She knew her anger towards Livia would forever stay with her if she didn’t learn to let it go, because enacting vengeance on Eve, as she was now, would be fruitless; unsatisfactory. It would be like trying to hurt a ghost, because the woman she hated no longer existed; at least, not in the form that would bring her a sense of closure.

In a way, this devotedly religious, pacifistic person that Eve had become actually hurt Varia more than it helped. And it caused this terrible conflict inside of Eve, for while she desperately wished to right the wrongs of her past, thinking that she may in some way have done better as Livia was incredibly unsettling; even if it was to just give someone somewhere to point their anger.

Livia didn’t help anyone. Livia destroyed everything she touched.

“And is it working?” Eve asked softly, needing to know if, in some backwards way, this was actually helping Varia let go of the past. Because although it may be a rather unorthodox way to go about things, if it was, then she didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to finally give Varia her peace of mind.

“Sometimes. Short moments but… it’s something. It’s been better than nothing,” Varia admitted, shuffling the weight between her feet before running her hand through her hair. She felt awkward; talking about this. She probably thought she would never have to.

“Look, we both know I’m using you,” Varia suddenly and very bluntly told her, getting back down to business. “And I know that it isn’t fair to you. It’s probably not fair to a lot of people really, that I’m keeping you here when you should be roaming the lands, spreading word of your God; or whatever it is that Eli’s Messenger is supposed to do. So you don’t have to stay; I’m not your obligation, and you’ve done enough. Besides, in the end, I don’t even know if this is going to work. I’m probably just wasting your time.”

“Forgiveness is never a waste of time; either for the person extending it, or receiving it,” Eve told her strongly, needing her to understand that. “And I’m aware that I have other obligations, but I’m not expecting to die tomorrow. When the time comes for me to move on I will, but for now, I believe that I’m needed here.”

Varia smirked, seemingly amused with her choice of wording. Perhaps she didn’t find it genuine. “You ‘believe’, or you want to be needed here?”

Eve understood the implication, but she refused to get embarrassed about it. “Both,” she answered honestly. “But not just because I get to lie with you. I won’t stand here and pretend that that isn’t something I find appealing, but you and I both know that there’s more to it than that; for both of us. I know you care nothing of how I feel, and you shouldn’t, but I think there’s a part of me that needs this as much as you do. I don’t think either of us will be able to move on if we don’t find a way to address it, and so I think it’s important right now that I stay.”

Varia pursed her lips, saying nothing for a long time until she finally nodded, understanding. “Then you may continue your lessons with my warriors, and I will see you… another time.” Leaving it at that, as there wasn’t much more to be said. She had accepted Eve’s offer to stay, and that was enough of an olive branch; at least for the time being.

The Queen turned to leave then, but she was stopped one final time by the sound of the other woman’s voice. If the subject was to be closed after this, then Eve at least needed to say this last thing. “What we’re doing,” she called out. “It’s… superficial. If you want to see something different, then you need to look deeper. I know it may not be preferable to you now, but we should… talk. One day, when you’re ready.”

Varia hesitated, but she did not immediately shut down the offer, as Eve had expected. Instead, she turned to leave once more, walking out the door with her parting words of, “…One thing at a time.” And, well, that was better than nothing.

Perhaps there would be hope for them yet.